Culture and Society

THE FAMILY

The family is the most important unit of the Algerian social system and defines social relations. It comes above all else and we see this manifest in nepotism and the importance of honor. The individual is always subordinate to the family or group.

THE CONCEPTS OF HONOR AND SHAME

Honor is a foundation block of Algerian society being intertwined with a family's good name and their reputation. Even the behavior of each and every family member is viewed as the direct responsibility of the family - so if someone is honorable, the whole family is honorable. If an individual is shamed the whole family is shamed.

Here's an example as to how delicate honor can be: A friend comes to you for a favor. Turning him or her down causes them to lose honor. So rather than risk your friend or yourself from losing face, you will agree to do something no matter what.

Be careful in criticizing others, insulting them, or putting them in a position that will be uncomfortable. Not only will you be spoiling the relationship, but also bringing shame and dishonor upon the family.